We are so excited to welcome the fabulously talented Amanda Holloway to the Blog! Learn more about Amanda in our Photographer Spotlight and visit her at her website Amanda Holloway Photography. Thank you so much Amanda for sharing your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
My inspiration for photography was born out of very dark time in my life. I had just given birth to my beautiful son, Web, and I was immediately met with Post Partum Depression. I wanted so badly to escape the smothering feeling that PPD was so sneakily forcing on me that I insisted on photographing anyone and everyone who asked me to. I had just bought my shiny new Nikon D5000 and thought I was such a pro. When I started posting photos of my son online, my friends wanted me to take their children’s photos and it became an easy way out for me. While I was shooting, I didn’t have to be mommy, or wife, so it was quite freeing for the time being.
Once PPD subsided, I suddenly realized that I was working a full time job as a Juvenile Probation Officer, shooting sessions on the weekend, and staying up til 3 am editing those sessions while waking up with a newborn every night. I was in over my head and the haze of PPD was no longer around to help me make excuses. It was during that time of revelation that I decided to specialize in senior photography. It made me truly happy and I couldn’t wait to shed myself of the other genres I wasn’t very crazy about.
So I began my journey into senior photography and haven’t looked back since. My photography career has allowed me to quit my job, be there for my son who we recently found out is special needs, put him in amazing therapeutic environments and be happier both financially, and family wise than I can remember.
How would you describe your photography style?
This is always such a hard question to answer! I would like to think my style is bold, colorful and rich while remaining modern yet timeless. It’s important to me not to “date” my portraits with crazy styles and actions that may be trending at the moment but never last the test of time. I always want my seniors to be able to look back on their portraits in ten years and not be embarrassed when they do.
I think there’s a lot to be said for beautifully simple portraits. Clean imagery when done right can be absolutely stunning.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I have two degrees… one in Criminal Justice and the other in Psychology. Imagine my utter shock when God kept opening doors in the photography world for me. I took a few beginner online classes and a beginning workshop here and there, but that’s about it. A lot of my workflow both, business and art wise, is self-taught. I knew the way I wanted to run my business and I knew what I wanted my photography style to look like and I just went after it. I’m not one to stick around with something if I’m not happy with it and that’s the same for my business.
Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
Oh, Nikon, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Hah! I started out with my trusty little Nikon D5000 in 2009. I paired it with a Sigma 24-70 (or something like that) lens and through shooting, quickly realized that I hated zoom lenses. I am a prime girl through and through! I immediately went out and purchased a Nikon 50mm 1.4G and fell in love. It’s been primes for me ever since.
I began to notice about a year after that first purchase that I could not get my camera what I wanted it to do for me. I tried to push it past it’s possibilities and realized that I had outgrown my gear. I went out and bought a Nikon D700 along with a 35mm 1.4G, an 85mm 1.4G and a 105mm 2.8G. I absolutely loved the full frame D700 and when the D800 came out, I heard about how amazing the detail was. Being a detail whore myself, I bit. I absolutely love my D800 and my 85mm 1.4G has not left it’s side in quite some time. I really do love the pairing.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Finding the light has to be one of the biggest issues I’ve seen photographers face in their art workflow. It can mean the world when it comes to shooting purposefully and can cut down your editing time to a fraction of what it used to be.
The main thing I look for when scouting locations is the “fall off.” When you have found a good location, face your subject towards the source of light. The light should shine brightest on your subject’s “T-zone” and fall off their face as it goes back towards their hairline. Notice any catch lights in their eyes as well as good contrast in tonal differences from highlights to shadows. Those factors scream good light.
Bad light is flat and dull on your subject’s face. Usually bad lighting is indicated by very little contrast in tonal differences and hardly any fall off.
I love using the Impact 5-in-1 oval reflector (it’s the biggest they have) to help pop some light back into my subject’s face and eyes.
What is the most challenging thing about photographing seniors?
Oh, gosh! That’s a hard one! I would say the hardest thing for me is to keep each and every single one of them different from the other! I used a studio photographer who had a little natural light area right outside her studio and of course, all of my friend’s portraits looked the exact same. Same pose, same location, same everything. Boo. My main goal is to offer something different between each senior.
While it’s definitely a tough commitment to make, I have found that it pushes me to stay creative and on top of my game in the market.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
This past year was really rough all around. There was drama, competition, and just plain ugliness. I thought my career was over at a few points during the year and then at others, I just wanted to quit. Imagine my surprise when I’ve come back stronger than ever.
The best lesson I learned this past year is that no matter what people say about you, YOU have the power to prove them wrong. If your competition starts to spread ugly rumors about you, prove them wrong. If your best friends turns into your enemy, prove them wrong… not through words, but your ACTIONS. You can say whatever you want to try and disprove but it doesn’t mean anything until you SHOW IT. Listen carefully to the crap, ask if it’s true. If it is and you don’t like that it explains you, change it. If it’s not true, ignore it.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
BE YOURSELF. So many times, we look at other artists’ work and dream of creating works of art like them. NO NO NO! YOU have a voice and you should use it!!! What do YOU want to say? How do YOU want to create? That is what is important and that is what will keep you happy as an artist!
What do you love most about being a photographer?
For me, providing a boost in self-esteem to these young girls is HUGE to me. A healthy confidence in yourself can result in better grades, better attitude, better behavior and even a better outlook on life. A lot of my girls have absolutely no clue how beautiful they truly are and if I can help them see that, then I’ve done my job.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I hope to continue to evolve in the senior photography market. I know that’s vague but I’m very careful not to make plans of my own as God has shown me that he is the one who decides where he wants me to be. 😉
About Amanda: Over the years, Amanda has worked hard to gain a reputation as one of the best SENIOR photographers in her industry, earning the respect of her peers around the world and accolades from industry print and web media outlets. She is called upon often to share what she’s learned through the experiences of running her own photography business and teaches workshops that are booked as far as a year in advance. What she promises to her clients is a couture photography experience that focuses on their true beauty – inside and out. She work with her clients to transform them into the wonderful women they want to be and feel as though they just walked off the pages of Vogue. Her approach is fresh and modern with bold, rich color – she create works of art for my clients to look back upon for years to come.
Megan V says
WOW. I am a new fan! It isn’t too often that a photographers work really speaks to me like hers just did!! Beautiful photos, creative work, and so easily recognizable as her style – something I truly aspire to! While doing my own thing, of course 🙂 Thanks for the great interview!
Sasha Holloway says
AWESOME ARTICLE. Love reading articles that are filled with some HONESTY about how this industry really has become. You go girl.
Love your work and your faith in the Almighty!
Her work is UNBELIEVABLE!!! Out of this world!!
Juliette Constanza says
Incredibly beautiful shots-and some great insights on the use of natural light and that you should never quit on something you truly want and believe. Excellent interview!
Usually Senior Photography does not catch my eye (perhaps because we don’t really have it here in Canada), but I am amazed at these photographs. They are all so stunning and draw you in in different ways. Beautiful work, Amanda!
Besides the fact that her work is awesome….my favorite thing about this article is how honest it is! 🙂